Talent for Good Interview Series: Corry Clayville

Jul 26, 2021 |

At Brighton Jones, giving back through time and treasure is a core part of how we operate. In this series, we highlight members of our community who put their professional talents to use to help make the world a better place.

We hope their stories inspire you! If you would like to share your own, please reach out to our philanthropy team.

Corry Clayville Director of Partnerships | Cook for Your Life, Fred Hutch

cory clayvilleWhat do you do professionally?

I’m a media executive who has worked with start-up brands and Fortune 500 companies in both television and digital media. I specialize in areas I’m passionate about that make a difference and in crafting strategic partnerships that both drive revenue and further brand mission.

I started out in the early 1990s selling local television advertising to ESPN, CNN, USA, and TNT, when cable was new. Then, in 2000, I got my dream job working for the Food Network. At the time, the Food Network was a little startup and I was part of a small team driving revenue. It was a ton of fun and a building opportunity. After that, I helped launch the Cooking Channel and then went to work for Robert Redford to help launch the Sundance channel.

In 2019, I took my expertise in startups and growing media business and helped Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center acquire Cook for Your Life, a free, bilingual, chef-created, registered dietitian-approved cooking resource that empowers people affected by cancer to achieve better health through nutrition. Cook for Your Life offers an ever-expanding collection of recipes, instructional cooking videos, and science-based nutrition and health information in both English and Spanish.

Truthfully, anybody who is struggling with a serious disease or wishes to stay in good health will benefit from eating a Cook for Your Life way. The heart-healthy diet relies heavily on fruits and vegetables and lean sources of protein.

When did you realize you could use your skills to give back?

My stepkids’ mother passed away from cancer after a hard, 20-month battle. When I married my husband, I retired from television full-time and focused on being a stepmom to them. My husband and I became interested in supporting cancer centers, and we met with a number of them. When we finally landed at Fred Hutch, we found a place that was open and interested in our input, and we really liked their science and innovation and multi-level approach. It felt like home.

My greatest interest is understanding the healing benefits of food and spreading the message that what we put in our body can transform outcomes, whether it be related to cancer or another serious disease. The better you eat, the better you feel, and generally speaking, food can have medicinal properties, too.

In 2019, Dr. Heather Greenlee, an epidemiologist and integrative medicine researcher at Fred Hutch, introduced me to Ann Ogden Gaffney, who started Cook for Your Life. Anne is a three-time cancer survivor who discovered her cooking skills helped her navigate the side effects of cancer treatment. I appreciated how Ann took her background as a trained chef and reinvented it to create healthy recipes and healthy ways of cooking. She had some “aha” moments of how you can create flavor in food and still keep it healthy. This opened my eyes to a new way of thinking about how to create healthy foods.

I realized I’d found the intersection where my skill set and passion could come together to support cancer patients and survivors live longer, healthier lives. I wanted to bring Ann’s resource to a wider audience while helping Dr. Greenlee use the site to conduct research. Now I volunteer my time working as the director of partnerships for Cook for Your Life. It’s been an eye-opening, transformative experience for me.

Our science-backed website has a dual purpose. There’s the consumer-facing side for the cancer community and other members of the public. At the same time, Dr. Greenlee and other researchers at Fred Hutch are using the global platform as a powerful tool to advance research on diet, cancer prevention, and survivorship. For example, one study is exploring the effects of eating the Cook for Your Life way and planned exercise on cancer outcomes in breast cancer survivors in the Seattle area. We’re about to launch a similar Spanish-speaking study in the Yakima Valley in Eastern Washington.

What are you learning? What are the challenges?

As a nonscientist, I’ve learned a lot about the science of food, which is really interesting and incredibly valuable. Any brand, whether it be Food Network or Sundance Channel, must have a high level of integrity in what you communicate if you want to be an authority in the market. It’s an even more important core tenet for Cook for Your Life—we have to be rooted in information that is backed by the dieticians and scientists in the field.

Our team of culinary educators and research scientists are passionate about driving the science forward and ensuring that our platform is not only a cutting-edge research tool, but also an inclusive, multicultural resource that every patient, survivor, and caregiver can use.

The challenge is that, as a non-profit, we rely on donations from individuals and companies to grow and support the website. We’re looking at nontraditional ways to support revenue through creative partnerships that could also bring Cook for Your Life to a larger audience.

For example, we’re partnering with corporations to offer nutrition 101 and Cook for Your Life cooking demos as engaging, team-building exercises. We design each class so that it is fun, educational, and delicious.

We are looking for partners to create Cook for Your Life meals and meal kits that we can distribute to cancer patients through Seattle Cancer Care Alliance and/or home meal delivery subscription services. My dream is for us to create healthy meals for people who are in need of them in a way that is approachable, affordable, and accessible; that crosses all platforms, regardless of economic level, gender or race; that reaches people wherever they are; with a flavor profile that would interest anyone.

Lastly, we’d love to work with businesses to develop and host cause marketing campaigns to benefit Fred Hutch and Cook for Your Life research. Our team can help create a standout campaign that engages customers and employees and inspires them to support leading-edge science to transform the lives of people touched by cancer.

Corry Clayville serves as the director of partnerships for Cook for Your Life at Fred Hutch.

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